Saturday, 16 August 2014
To those who know me, they are well-aware that mentioning HR (Human Resources) to me is the equivalent of holding a red rag in front of a bull.
I don't just dislike HR. I detest it. With a vengeance. Had I the money, I would have it proscribed and banned. It is the business equivalent of ISIS or Hamas. Terrorism, just without the violence.
I appreciate not everyone can get everything right all the time, and while HR people allegedly should have some sort of commitment to their employees, not just kowtowing to cowardly directors, it's not exactly life-threatening (although certainly nearly always job-threatening) should they mess things up, which they always seem to do with absolutely no effort.
Now, the unfortunate thing is, I am not wrong. And I find this disturbing. And it's all based on my own experience of HR.
I had a particular experience that I would rather forget. I can't go into detail, because it was so illegal, hurtful and downright dishonest that just before it went to employment tribunal they settled out of court, setting aside £100 of the settlement, as companies who are embarrassingly in the wrong always do, to put a gagging order in place.
I am only sorry I didn't have some money in the bank as I would have loved to let it go to tribunal and taken them for all I could, more so to have each and every rotten and complicit one them splashed all over the media.
They engaged the services of a clueless, evil, witless woman as a consultant who was so dysfunctional and dishonest that she doesn't mention the episode on her LinkedIn profile, where she continues to this day to to fool all of the people all of the time. I really pity any company who uses her services!
But it goes further than this. My wife works in the financial services industry where customer service is the key. The particular company she works for does a good job for their customers, but all their internal HR systems are total and utter crap, if not non-existent. Long and good service is not recognised, advancement promises are broken all the time, and if she's on an extended shift, she can end up being sent for lunch 2 hours after she arrives at the office (laughingly called "capacity planning") with no other break for the remaining 8 hours of her shift!
My daughter works part time for a multinational grocer to subsidise her University They sell quality goods, but the HR management of the food-only store where she works is a huge joke bordering on non-existant.
And my son has just completed a nine-month stint on paid work-experience for a large international IT firm. He was paid well and had a good and useful time, but the HR input he received was minimal when it came to turning it into the apprenticeship that he wanted. They delayed and messed around right up to the day he had to otherwise accept his University place.
So, here we have a family of four witnessing a 100% track record of bad HR practice.
Can any other profession boast getting things 100% wrong? I doubt it.
Wednesday, 13 August 2014
If I see one more company mission statement where they say it is “to exceed customer expectation”, I think I will possibly throw up.
Everyone is so busy “exceeding customer expectations”, that I’m surprised anyone has time for anything else, let alone making a profit and a living.
I had three occasions today where I am actually extremely glad the companies in question did not exceed my expectations too much, otherwise I would have been quite angry.
#1 - Apple Stores
My expectation with Apple was to be ripped off, their prices being at least 30% more in the UK than they are in the USA, mainly because stupid UK shoppers refuse to shop with their wallets and support them by queuing outside for products they don’t really need but nevertheless want. I am glad they did not exceed my expectation by ripping me off 40% instead.
#2 - RyanAir
My expectation booking a flight with RyanAir was that by the time I reached the ‘checkout’, my advertised £13.99 flight to Dublin would cost me at least £49. They exceeded my expectation, through all their statutory extras and the couple of optional extras I had to take, by £8, the flight total costing me £57.
#3 – Moto motorway stopover
My expectation for a UK motorway stopover was that petrol would be at least 10p more expensive than on the high street, and that a cup of tea and a sandwich would see me being ripped-off beyond belief. They exceeded my expectation, because petrol was 12p per litre pricier than the high street, and the cup of plasticated tea was even more expensive that I thought.
I passed on the sandwich though, refusing to part with £4.95 for something that looked like a sheet of off-colour polystyrene nestling between two slices of bread pretending to be a cheese sandwich.
If you are going to develop a mission statement, don’t just get it from some £1,500 a day consultant on his day off from conning the government. He only buys it off the shelf from “Exceeding Customer Expectations ‘Я’Us LLP” anyway.
Be sensible. If you are a wholesaler, instead of exceeding customer expectations, why don’t you “provide quality products you can make consistently more profit from”.
Or if you are a taxi firm, “transport the customer to their destination cost-effectively and on time”.
Just give the “exceeding expectation” thing a rest, ok, will you?